SaaS Tips: Five Ways to Reduce Churn

SAASChurn is a dreaded word for SaaS managers. Simple put, churn is the rate at which your customers cancel their recurring SaaS subscriptions. However, effectively measuring and coming up with a strategy to reduce churn is not so simple. It involves a strategy that permeates the entire digital life cycle. From the moment a prospect becomes a customer, a strategy must be in place to keep them on board, and hopefully upgrade or upsell them down the road. SaaS success hinges not only on customer retention, but generating new revenue as well. Churn, however, is at the center of both success metrics. Consider five ways to reduce churn in your SaaS company.

 

Identify Who is High Risk

A key to decreasing churn is to identify high risk customers. The best place to start is with your customers that are leaving. Create an exit survey to collect data. Ask why they are not renewing. How often did they use the software? How many employees used the service? Combine this data with demographic information you should already have, such as the type of business, number of employees, geographic location or age of company. This demographic data will help you create a profile of a high risk customer. Going forward, when new customers subscribe with a similar profile, you’ll know you need to act fast and give them a little more attention to keep them around. Or, you may be able to develop a specific feature tailored to that demographic. If small businesses in a certain niche industry tend to drop, consider their exit surveys and focus on the development of a new feature that might earn their loyalty. You may even discover that a certain age demographic is most likely to drop. Trending these factors will help you develop communication methods aimed at that specific group.

Focus on Education

To instill loyalty, customers must feel like they are getting more than they paid for. Exceed their expectations. Instead of focusing on upselling existing customers, focus on educating those clients to ensure they are getting the most from the bucks they are already spending. Specifically focus on education tools for your high risk customers. Create weekly blogs or e-newsletters that feature how-to guides or FAQs. Offer online videos or live video training classes that feature your product or tips and tricks for their industry niche. For example, if your SaaS product features an engagement or social media module, walk your small business owners through this tool. Show them how easy it is to engage their customers. Go beyond the simple functionality of the product. Feature general marketing or engagement tips they will find beneficial too. Use your educational tools to become your client’s trusted advisor. If you sell a product that features a social media tool, you should be an expert on all things related to social media marketing. Get your customers excited about the future by organizing webinars that discuss new features that are in development. It’s a great way to build anticipation and get valuable feedback.

Make Upgrading a Natural Process

Upgrades are an integral part of growing and expanding your SaaS business. It’s much cheaper to upgrade an existing customer than to recruit a completely new one. However, to upgrade you have to keep your existing customers first. A customer that has upgraded is more invested in a product than a customer with the most basic subscription. An upgraded customer has seen the value and has moved out of the “high-risk” zone. Thus, upgrading your customers is critical to reducing churn.

An effective upgrade strategy involves helping customers get all they can out of their current plan. You are helping them grow into needing the next. One huge pitfall among SaaS providers is not including enough value in the basic subscription. They mistakenly feel like they should withhold the truly valuable features as an incentive for the customer to upgrade. This faulty reasoning leads to increased churn rates because customers don’t see any value. Conversely, when a customer sees incredible value in the product they’ve purchased, they naturally will see the value in upgrading to the next level.

Encourage Interaction

Be proactive about engaging your customers. Reach out to them. Offer incentives for them to communicate their thoughts. Here are a few ways to do it.

  • Surveys:Surveys aren’t just for your customers that are leaving. Keep them short, 10 questions or less. Carefully draft questions that will give you insight into how your customers are using the product and what improvements they would like to see. If the user chooses to not remain anonymous, contact them with a thank-you e-mail and follow-up with their specific concerns or requests. Make sure they know their feedback is valued and used. Be sure good and bad feedback is acknowledged. Remaining silent leaves a very bad impression.
  • Social media:Include social media in your branding campaign and in your education strategy. Draw attention to blog posts, how-to guides and industry trends through your social media feed. Utilize social media polls to gather feedback from past and present customers. Set up contests with free product giveaways for participation.
  • Feedback bar:Include a feedback bar or forum directly within your product so users can quickly be heard. It’s a great way for users to interact with each other and get tips from their peers. However, be sure an employee monitors the dialogue to ensure all questions are answered accurately. This will also give you insight into what features may need improvement. If customers constantly have issues with the same feature, maybe it needs to be more intuitive or customers need to be better educated.

Offer Rewards

We already talked about giving your high-risk customers a little added attention. However, don’t overlook your most-valued, loyal customers. They need to feel your love too. The most basic loyalty reward is to offer customers buying an annual subscription a reduced rate compared to those that are billed monthly. Go a little further by giving your annual renewals a free add-on to try. Show personal interest by making it something specific to their industry. Ask your loyal customers to try a new beta product and provide feedback. Give them some free usage for their time and insights. Other rewards to consider are those related to a referral program. Integrate with your social media campaign by offering clients a free add-on for sharing their positive feedback with their social media followers. Ask a long-time user to be a guest blog writer. They will get added visibility and so will you. Get creative. Think beyond simple discounts or giveaways.

In a nutshell, SaaS businesses grow by increasing revenue and decreasing churn. Understand your customers. What services are most valuable? How do they prefer to be billed? What is their level of technical expertise? Analyze who they are. Build a strategy for education. Help them see the value in upgrading. Communicate effectively and offer rewards. Max Q Technologies understands that to do this successfully, you need the infrastructure to manage billing, recognize revenue and and track customer engagement. Our highly experienced team works closely with clients to customize their subscription management strategies. Track billing, renewals and effectively forecast future revenues throughout the digital life cycle with our solutions.  Contact us to learn more.

 


Choosing the Right Subscription Software

Offering subscription services to your customers has many advantages. Your business and your customers will benefit from these services. Setting up subscriptions is not as difficult as it may seem. It is simply a matter of finding the right subscription software to fit your needs. There are a few things to consider when deciding which software to use.

The first thing to keep in mind is the customer. The customer interface is extremely important. It needs to be user-friendly from both the customer’s and users perspective. Ask yourself, “How easy is it for my customers to sign up and cancel subscriptions?” Your customers should be able to manage their subscription easily. If your customers have trouble accessing their subscription options, you will certainly lose the,

Access to statistics and KPIs are other features that is an important aspect of subscription software. In order to make decisions about your business, you need to see the numbers. How many people are subscribed? What is your current and predicted ARR (Annual Recurring Revenue). When did you gain or lose subscribers (churn)? How much did you upsells and downsells. Knowing when your subscription numbers fluctuate can point you to crucial information. You can determine what you did during that time to cause the fluctuation. It is also helpful to have access to billing and revenue forecasting  so you know when and how much billing is going out to predicate all important cash flow and the revenue impact on your financial statements.

Automation is a key in making subscription services work efficiently. Look at how well the software deals with automation. Once you have set up and implemented the software, how much time will you need to devote to manage the subscriptions? Good software should handle most of the work for you. It should be fairly effortless on your part. It should also allow you to make changes to the workflow to better fit your needs. If you have concerns about setting up software, make sure the software company   reliable implementation methodology and good consulting and technical support.

Now you simply need to find the best software for the most reasonable price. Once you have determined exactly what features you need, then you look into the cost involved. This is an investment in your business. The goal is for a reasonable ROI while reducing risk. When executed properly, a subscription service is a great way to generate revenue.

 

Take your time and do your research. Having the right software will make or break your ability to profit from subscriptions. Contact us for more information.


The Impact of Great Customer Service for SaaS Providers

A great product is not enough in the SaaS industry. You need great customer service to follow suit. From the moment a visitor qualifies as a lead until long after a prospect subscribes, your company needs to ensure your providing a stellar customer experience.

Failure to do so means your brand will lose out on one of the biggest competitive advantages in business – customer loyalty.

The effects of good customer service.

 

A study published in the Harvard Business Review looked at both a transactional business and subscription based business in order to measure the effects of good customer service. The first company found that customers who had the best possible customer experience were more likely to become repeat buyers, purchasing 144% more than customers who had the poorest customer experience. The second company, or the subscription based, found that users who had rated their customer experience as bad had only 43% chance of continuing their subscription for over a year, whereas users who had rated their customer service as great had a 73% chance of continuing their subscription for another year.

 

Making the experience better. 

When a prospect converts and subscribes to your software, your brand has their complete attention. It’s the first moment where a positive or negative customer experience can determine the length of a subscription and the repeat of a sale. Start by sending your new customers an email and personal thank you, directing them to guides and resources that will assist them on their journey.

Furthermore, ask if they need help or have any questions about the company or your software. You can even recommend products or services to add further value to their initial purchase. Most importantly, always ensure you’re giving the best customer support including services like responsive and efficient email support, live chat, and even a phone line to address urgent issues.

But don’t stop there. Provide something extra, something they won’t get from other companies. It can be a discount, a gift, even a t-shirt, so long as it enhances their experience and their opinion of your brand. Going above and beyond to make sure your customers are happy pays off through their loyalty, setting you a part from other SaaS providers and competition.

 

To learn how you can achieve the best possible customer experience that guarantees lasting loyalty, contact us and we’ll make it possible.


subscription service

Get In The Trend With Subscription Software

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The latest trends in e-commerce that have emerged over the last year all center around subscription services. From the dollar razor club that has been advertised all over social media, to subscriptions of feminine products that made headlines as people were amazed to see such strong interest in such an unusual subscription software service, people are definitely willing to pay on a monthly basis for almost anything you can imagine.

In the early days of subscription services, there were mostly fruit and wine clubs. Now, even the food options have expanded with people delivering regional foods all over the country, but the massive subscription trend didn’t end there.

Businesses are learning that software which used to cost thousands of dollars up front can be licensed on a monthly basis through a subscription service. This lowers the barrier of entry for many entrepreneurs and small businesses, while keeping accounting simple for larger companies. In addition to software, online services like meal planning, content services and media services are all available as monthly subscriptions.

The market is primed for even more subscription based offerings. Can what your company does be offered as a subscription?  Think outside the box and you may find a whole new customer base. Before you begin to worry about all the technicalities of offering subscriptions, remember that our subscription software makes it simple for you to offer subscriptions to your customers. You can manage your subscription service, handle billing offer free trials, and send automated communications like invoices and payment receipts all without hiring a new IT specialist or accountant.

Subscription services open up your business to new markets, and subscription software makes it easy, please contact us to find out how simple the transition to offering subscriptions can be.


Perpetual Licenses vs. SAAS

Perpetual Licenses vs. SAAS

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SaaS (Software as a Service) is relatively new software product made possible by the cloud. In the past, the vast majority of software products were made available via one-time installs and used “perpetual licenses.” A perpetual license gave a business the exclusive, perpetual use of the software that they bought. Businesses were legally limited in the amount of times they could install each program, but up until the last 15-20 years, software companies had no practical way to prevent multiple copies.

Today, with Microsoft and Adobe both offering their business software suites on a monthly subscription platform, the industry is changing. For businesses, the difference between the former perpetual licenses and SaaS is significant.

Perpetual Licenses

Perpetual licenses cost more up-front, but a business could use one indefinitely if it was not a core part of your operations. Licenses can allow for selling your software once your company decides to stop using it. The disadvantages for perpetual licenses were substantial, though. The up-front cost of the software and the need to update any core components to your business created logistics and budget strains.

Many companies would have to update on a periodic basis. These updates required software engineers to install the new software, update old files, and upgrade out-of-date hardware. The install time created down times for each business. Individual employee’s computers all needed to be updated also. Installs could sometimes take weeks or months of planning.

SAAS

SaaS attempts to offer a solution to business’s many problems with perpetual licenses. The idea of software as a service is as old as “You’ve Got Mail”, where AOL offered dial-up software suites on a monthly subscription service. SaaS has only recently grown in popularity and usability as advances in networked computing (the Cloud) has enabled companies in some cases to offer cheap and free data to software users.

SaaS solves the problem of expensive installs because, once installed, the software is typically updated automatically for the life of the subscription. Also, the integrated nature of subscriptions gives support feedback immediately. This feedback gives information to the software company, enabling patches and customer support to be more efficient.

SaaS also creates interesting resources businesses never had with Perpetual Licensing. Cloud based control panels give companies the ability to control their business remotely, set up multiple offices without expending capital (employees work from home), and offer customer service 24/7. The cheaper installs (no one-time software fees) also give companies access to larger software suites. This allows for greater customization and integration of multiple business systems (Customer Service, HR, time management, accounting). Companies can order SaaS plans that are customized and implemented by a 3rd Party, reducing the costs of initial installs, and preventing the need for hiring software engineers, programmers and designers if software is not your business.

While there are some disadvantages to SaaS, for a business whose main thing is not software (manufacturing, service, retail, etc), SaaS can revolutionize the way you do business.

To find out how SaaS programs can benefit your business, please contact us.


About Distribution Software

About Distribution Software

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Distribution Software is a software solution that aids an organization in their supply chain process. Most companies have more than one department that directly affect inventory. Using distribution software can greatly help with inventory management.

In general terms, inventory management refers to the method a business uses to handle its tangible resources and material to make sure that it is readily available. Inventory management allows a company to use their inventory assets more efficiently to maximize its revenue.

A company’s distribution pipeline generally requires that products are stocked in a warehouse and then transferred from one location to another in the distribution chain. Distribution software automates managing inventory levels by using SKU or UPC at their warehouse locations.

To keep large warehouses organized, the software package helps identify bin locations for individual products by the UPC/SKU number. Employees can be directed to those locations for shipments, pull products when needed, and make room for new products. Employees can also be directed while putting product away as well as being notified to replenish picking stock from bulk storage areas.

Real time inventory monitoring of each product stored in a warehouse is an important function of distribution software. Products that are running low can be identified.  Re-orders can take place, insuring that the demand for the product can always be met. The software can also forecast product demand based on previous customer ordering history.

A Vendor Managed Inventory (VMI) program. VMI means that it is up to the vendor to replenish inventory for a customer based on some predefined parameters. The customer does not send the vendor purchase orders but instead supplies the vendor with usage or Point of Sales data. It is up to the vendor to decide when and how much inventory to ship to the customer. This gives the vendor a tremendous opportunity to maximize its sales and get closer to the end user of its products.

MaxQ Technologies offers distribution software. For more information contact us here.


IDC Forecasts SAAS Will Be The Fastest Growing Area of Enterprise IT Through 2018

IDC Forecasts SAAS Will Be The Fastest Growing Area of Enterprise IT Through 2018

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International Data Corporation (IDC) predicts that by 2018, 27.8% of the worldwide enterprise software market will be SAAS applications. According to IDC, just 16.6% of enterprise applications were SaaS-based in 2013.

These and other findings are from the recent IDC report, Worldwide SAAS Enterprise Applications 2014–2018 Forecast and 2013 Vendor Shares.  The recent Forbes article IDC Predicts SaaS Enterprise Applications Will Be A $50.8B Market By 2018 summarizes the results.

Why SAAS Is Accelerating In The Enterprise 

  • Product life cycles are continually under pressure to deliver greater sales in less time, leaving little time to launch products successfully. Companies are relying on SAAS-based analytics, CRM and marketing automation applications to address their time-to-market requirements, as on-premise systems are often much slower and expensive to install and use.
  • Greater availability of analytics to measure and improve decisions. Analytics and business intelligence (BI) SAAS applications are often deployed within days or weeks instead of months it often takes to implement on-premise systems. Enterprises are using the advanced analytics and BI functions of SAAS applications to create their own unique measures of performance and quickly create dashboards to manage with greater accuracy.
  •  SAAS-based ERP systems are one of the fastest growing of enterprise applications as manufacturers look to unify geographically diverse locations within a single system.  Legacy ERP systems that are on-premise lack this agility, and to replicate it, companies running on-premise systems alone need to buy multiple licenses. This gets very expensive and takes time to implement, while SAAS-based systems are often up and running within weeks.
  • The economics of cloud computing and SAAS applications put enterprise customers back in control of their IT spending and budgets.

 

SAAS-based systems can give your company a time-to-market advantage against competitors and drastically reduce your IT costs.

Contact us and let’s discuss how MaxQ Technologies, Inc. can help you get to your goals.


Top Five Benefits Of Using Subscription Software

Top Five Benefits Of Using Subscription Software

Subscription Software

Do you sell subscriptions? If yes, you should think about investing in an efficient tool to help you manage subscriptions and billing. Investing in quality subscription software will make managing your subscriptions a lot easier and help you save time so you can work on other important things. Here are the main benefits of relying on quality subscription software:

    • Automation means fewer billing errors. Relying on software to send out bills to your subscribers or to process authorized recurring payments significantly reduces the risks of charging the wrong amount. Fewer billing errors means your clients will be more likely to be satisfied with your services.
    • Relying on software to process new subscriptions and collect payments will help you save a lot of time. You can use this time to focus on other tasks, such as finding more subscribers or creating quality content for your existing subscribers.
    • Automated billing means your clients will receive a bill or payments will be automatically processed on a fixed date. Your clients will know when to expect their bill or when the money will be automatically taken from their bank account or credit card. A fixed payment schedule should increase your collection rate. You can also rely on software to send out automated reminders to your subscribers about payments.
    • Processing payments with software eliminates the possibility of human errors. Once clients enter their payment information and authorize recurring payments, the risks of payment errors are almost non-existent. On the other hand, there is always the risk of entering the wrong banking or credit card information when processing payment information manually. These errors can result in additional fees for you, delayed payments and unhappy subscribers.
    • Subscription software will give you access to data on your subscriptions. You will be able to see how many subscribers you have, how many clients decided not to renew their subscriptions and how quickly your audience is growing. You can then use this data to make informed business decisions.

MaxQ Technologies, Inc. offers a wide selection of software solutions. You should contact us to find out more about subscription software and how this tool can help you manage payments.


Subscription Software: Making It Deliver

Subscription Software: Making It Deliver

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Subscription Software

Participating by subscription improves customer service on both sides of the desk. While this statement may seem somewhat self-absorbent, it is quite truthful. Using subscription software, the customer receives an experience enhancing their business or personal activity with a provider enterprise.

Merchant Delivery

Subscription services are present in a number of business models and product offerings over many industries. They are prevalent in these representative fields:

  • Software
  • Advertising
  • Communications
  • Equipment sales
  • Financial services
  • Real estate
  • Travel
  • Database/Knowledgebase Access
  • Education
  • Membership

Subscriptions are available within other industries and serve to enhance consumer enjoyment of reading, entertainment and health/fitness activities. Most subscriptions have low startup costs and reduce a customer reluctance to try, which is the lure that attracts participants.

Subscription Benefits

Consumer benefits make this model appealing to the masses. Because customer loyalty is important, it puts them in control as the merchant does everything possible to provide the best experience possible. The result is an organization’s focus to retain and grow their customers by providing ongoing positive and valuable experiences for their customers.

Pleasing the consumer is important as this means a better chance on an upselling that will result in higher billing and renewals. This will help an organization to build on success with retention instead of churn, which means a higher ROI on customer acquisition investment. Patterns of consistent recurring revenue mean an organization has more predictable and consistent business model.

How it Works

While up-front cost of acquiring each customer can be higher, but the cost of retaining and service each one you get is much lower. Recurring payments help an organization maintain predictable cash flow, improve billing accuracy and provide excellent customer service practices. Automation allows the process to be very efficient and easy to manage.

Once a subscription contract is active and initial payment received, the system does the rest. Your customer receives a customized statement/invoice dependably and the company experiences reduction of administrative costs.

Contact us to learn about the various ways we can help your company apply the subscription model of business.